A valuable lesson I learned in college

When I was in college I spent lots and lots of hours in the library. I was the guy that was there even when finals were too far away. And I loved every minute of it, however. The first year I did spend lots of hours but it was different because I didn’t want to.
The difference within the first year was that I didn’t like some subjects I had to study, so I procrastinated. A lot. I talked with other procrastinators during some (big) breaks, had some snack outside… It wasn’t productive at all.
What happened wasn’t that I didn’t put effort on it, it was that I was breaking constantly the study flow. And each time I had to start over, taking me at least 20 minutes to get focused again.
Pretty soon I figured out that I could spend half of my day studying the things I wanted, if I had uninterrupted period of times, so I could go through the stuff I didn’t like pretty quickly. It seemed like a great deal, wasn’t it? So I just studied those boring subjects for an hour and a half, but totally focused.
The results? I didn’t excel in those boring subjects, but I did okay. I got the exactly same results that I was getting before, but instead of spending the whole day, it just took me less than two hours per day, and it liberated time to focus on studying the things I really wanted to.
Okay, okay… I know. It sounds super obvious that one of the keys to be productive is to focus, but back then it wasn’t. In fact, I bet that for most people who think it is, break constantly their work flow. Whether it is studying, working or doing whatever it is, breaking the flow means that in order to get back to that level of focus you’ve got to start over–which takes 20 minutes each time.
Are you breaking your work flow? That’s a question you should ask yourself on a regular basis.
(And by the way, even though I learned it in college, this is also a reminder to myself.)